White House Nears Decision on Auto Bailout

The White House was indicating Tuesday that short-term help is on the way to Detroit automakers teetering on economic collapse after the Senate rejected an auto bailout last week.

The Bush administration has been gathering financial information from the auto companies since then and reviewing its options.

Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson told FOX News that he and other Bush administration officials are exploring the options and in the process of making a decision but declined to say when one would be reached.

"We've got some time," he said. "So we're not stalling. We're obviously moving ahead with all deliberative speed right here but we've got a little bit of time."

In Detroit, Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., said he expects General Motors to get $8 billion and Chrysler $7 billion from the Bush administration. He said Paulson likely would be tapped as a "car czar" to oversee restructuring of the companies.

Paulson didn't discuss this possibility with FOX News but asserted that a failure of the auto industry would not be good for the economy.

"I've said and I agree with the president said, that our economy is in a fragile state right now and failure is not a good thing," he said. "But the key thing is that any solution that there be put them on a long-term path to viability. That's absolutely critical."

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